18th February 1914 (Wednesday)

DIED TODAY: Frances (Fanny) Matilda Van de Grift Osbourne (later, Stevenson) – a life less ordinary. “The only woman in the world worth dying for”, is commemorated in the novel, “Under the Wide and Starry Sky” by Nancy Horan.


Agriculture and society: George Adkin, New Zealand farmer, is busy clearing (firing) the bush at the margins of his land. In the summer afternoon he attends a garden party organised by the ladies of the Methodist Church.


Society and culture: In England, Geoffrey Stewart, 35 year old Eton educated son of Major-General Sir Herbert Stewart, K.C.B., is promoted to the rank of Major in the Leicestershire Yeomanry. He previously joined the Coldstream Guards in 1898, and served with them through- out the South African (“Boer”) War, 1899-1902. From 1905-07 he served in the Egyptian Army and retired in 1910, joining the Reserve of Officers.

He will be killed while retiring from a reconnaissance he makes, alone, to the enemy’s trenches at Givenchy, in Flanders, on the 22nd December, 1914.

Today, he and others are commemorated in a memorial bus shelter, and the local Church, in Winwick, Northamptonshire. [www.roll-of-honour.com].


7th November 1913 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in the coastal town of Mondovi in French North Africa (now Drean in Algeria), Albert Camus, Nobel Prize winner author, journalist and philosopher. “No [he said] I am not an existentialist”, but english school masters obviously weren’t paying attention at the time…


DIED TODAY: in Broadstone, in Dorset, England – Alfred Russel Wallace [born in January 1823] who narrowly missed immortality when Darwin successfully appropriated the theory of evolution (survival of the fittest, perhaps?) but is enjoying a second coming now, courtesy of facebook and the blogosphere. A bronze statue is also a “work-in-progress”, in opposition to “the Art Establishment – with their heads full of conceptual installations, dead cows and dirty bed sheets” [Wallace Statue Campaign].



Labour Relations: In New Zealand, George Adkin, by occupation a farmer with foxgloves on his mind, is drafted in to help with strike-breaking in the “Great Strike”, and faithfully records events in his normally bucolic diary:

Wet night.  Squadrons left for wharves at 8.30.  Our troop took up position in Featherston St, opposite the Railway  Department Buildings.  No crowd to-day – so rang Mackay’s for book (the Rly Depart also gave us magazines) + put in time reading.  For dinner went to one of Harbour Board’s sheds – while waiting the driver of a striker’s wagon drove right through our formation scattering horses – the man was arrested.  Dinner consisted of tea + bread + cheese. [Museum of New Zealand – George Leslie Adkin’s diary].


Extreme Weather: In North America, the Great Lakes is experiencing its worst ever recorded weather “The Great Storm”, with 19 ships lost and 238 sailors drowned.